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With great sadness, we have to advise that Associate Member Stan Collier died on Sunday 16 June at the age of 97. We understand from his son Richard that Stan had remained very independent and living in his own home. However, he recently contracted a chest infection which led to his passing. 

Stan was one of the generations of racing mechanics who had to fend for themselves as they trundled around Europe in trucks of varying reliability on roads which were a far cry from the autoroutes of the 21st century. 

Stan was working for Donald Healey in London in the mid ‘50s when he met Ken Gregory, Stirling Moss’s manager, who was also head of public relations for Austin-Healey sports cars. In conjunction with Stirling’s father Alfred Moss, Ken was setting up a race team to be known as the British Racing Partnership with Tony Robinson as chief mechanic. Although initially reluctant, Stan responded positively to a second approach from Ken which involved Stan in running BRP’s Formula 2 Cooper-Climaxes with Borgward engines while the main focus of the team became Formula 1 with a BRM P25.

It was a gruelling start for the F2 team with Ivor Bueb dying from injuries sustained at Clemont-Ferrand in August 1959 and both Harry Schell and Chris Bristow being fatally injured in the now Yeoman Credit-backed F1 Cooper T51s at Silverstone and Spa Francorchamps respectively in the first half of 1960. Tony Brooks, Olivier Gendebien and Henry Taylor were the regular team drivers.

With the advent of the 1500 cc Formula 1 for 1961 BRP switched from Cooper to Lotus chassis with the team’s backers becoming another finance company UDT Laystall as Yeoman Credit moved on to Reg Parnell’s team. And so Stan became one of the main F1 team mechanics, working with Tony Robinson. With the plethora of non-championship F1 races around the UK and Europe in addition to the World Championship events, and the need to maximise income from start and prize money, Stan was unceasingly busy both preparing the cars and transporting them from race to race but he enjoyed the travelling and experiencing the countries of Western Europe. On the downside, Stan and Tony Robinson took on the responsibility of extricating the grievously injured Stirling Moss from the mangled remains of his Lotus Type 18/21 on that fateful day at Goodwood which ended his front-line career on Easter Monday 1962.

Although BRP/UDT Laystall never won a World Championship race, the team enjoyed some success in the non-championship races, most notably thanks to Innes Ireland who had been dropped by Team Lotus after winning the US Grand Prix at the end of 1961 and had scores to settle during his three years with BRP. Initially BRP used Lotus chassis with both Coventry-Climax and BRM V8 engines before Tony Robinson created his own monocoque design, following the trend set by Lotus with the Type 25. For 1963 Stan stayed with BRP until it closed its doors at the end of the 1964 season. He had some involvement with the BRP Indycar, a project conceived by another of the BRP Formula 1 drivers, Masten Gregory, and financed by Masten’s stepfather.

Following the demise of BRP, Stan moved to Reg Parnell Racing, now operated by Tim Parnell following Reg’s death before moving to Rob Walker’s team which had acquired a Lotus Type 49 for Jo Siffert to drive in 1968. Highlight of that season was ‘Seppi’ Siffert’s victory in the British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch. Stan stayed with Rob Walker through to 1970 with Graham Hill as the team’s principal driver before moving out of Formula 1 to work on the Formula 5000 Leda LT25 raced by Trevor Taylor. This was followed by a period which involved the manufacture of Formula Supervees which came unstuck as a consequence of the 1973 oil crisis. He returned to Formula 1 with the Brabham team in the latter part of the 1970s where the drivers  – Niki Lauda, John Watson, Nelson Piquet and Hans-Joachim Stuck-  were among the very best. 

Ron Tauranac, who had sold his interest in Brabham to Bernie Ecclestone, was encouraged by some of his former Brabham F2 and F3 customers to begin again and so Ralt was born with Stan, who had been working for Neil Trundle Racing (from which emerged Rondel Racing in partnership with Ron Dennis) as foreman in charge of race car assembly and set up and as supervisor of race team subassembly.

Stan Collier, who was elected as an Associate Member in 1988, was one of those individuals, before the days of computer technology, who kept the wheels of international motor racing turning whether on track or on the long drives between tracks, week in week out and without whom our sport could not have evolved in the way that it has.

To his son Richard, daughter Elizabeth, and their families, the BRDC offers its deepest condolences. Stan’s wife predeceased him. 

Stan's funeral will be held at 1.00pm on Tuesday 16 July at Hills Cemetery Chapel, Guildford Road, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 1TT. Parking at the chapel is limited to disabled only. Everyone else is welcome to park on Hillside Road which is near the Chapel entrance. A wake will be held afterwards at The Sussex Oak, 2 Church Street, Warnham, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 3QW. All Members are welcome and as Stan wanted it to be a celebration of his life, his only request is that nobody wears black.

The Club regrets to report on the death of Neville Hay, who was elected as a BRDC Member in 1993
The Club regrets to report on the death of Alan Minshaw, who was elected as a BRDC Member in 1984
The Club regrets to report on the death of Ray Thackwell who was elected as a BRDC Member in 1957
Notice of Death - Stan Collier (1926 - 2024) | 09-Jul-2024
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